Dr. Claire Harrison, MD, FRCP, FRCPath, Professor at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London summarises relevant information for MPN patients regarding COVID-19, or Coronavirus.
1. Patients with a myeloproliferative neoplasm (ET, PV or myelofibrosis) who are on aspirin alone, blood-thinning tablets (like warfarin, apixaban or rivaroxaban), venesection alone or no treatment at all only need to follow the government’s general advice and aren’t considered high risk.
2. Patients over the age of 70 with an MPN, or any MPN patient with additional illnesses such as heart disease, high blood pressure or diabetes, are considered more vulnerable and should follow the government’s guidelines for vulnerable individuals.
3. Patients under 70 years of age who are on medications to control their blood count or their MPN like Hydroxycarbamide, Interferon, Anagrelide, Busulfan, and combinations are in a group where the situation is unclear and there is no clear evidence that they are high risk. But they should at the very least follow the government’s general guidance.
4. Patients taking ruxolitinib regardless of their diagnosis may be at higher risk and are considered to be potentially more vulnerable. These patients should follow government advice for vulnerable individuals.
6. All patients should continue with their current medication because keeping good control of your MPN is an important priority.
7. While there have been some concerns that ibuprofen or similar drugs may make COVID-19 worse, there is no current suspicion that this is the case for aspirin.
Please note that this represents the collective opinions of MPN clinicians; MPN is not a simple Blood Cancer. The situation may change rapidly please check for updates and if you are not certain, discuss with your clinical team but bear in mind the pressures that they will be under.